The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Holiday Edition release is much bigger than players expected. Sure, new artworks were expected, and we got plenty of them. From a new Poster artwork to some new Hildebrandt-inspired full art reprints, the Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth holiday release has a ton of new skins for existing content, but it doesn’t stop there.
In addition to 20 new reprints, there are actually five new Modern legal MTG cards from the holiday release of Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth! This is because a new Jumpstart product is coming out with the release, meaning five new rares will join the Lord of the Rings set. While not very good for Modern, they are new cards nonetheless, so let’s take a look!
New Lord of the Rings Jumpstart Volume 2 Rares
The new Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Jumpstart Volume 2 product introduces five new rare cards. One card is being granted to each primary color, meaning a white, blue, black, red and green rare are being added to Modern.
Notably, we already looked at two of these cards in an earlier article. Since we discussed them in detail there, instead of repeating ourselves, it’s better to just point you in that direction.
To summarize it quickly, neither Minas Tirith Garrison or Riders of the Mark look particularly promising for Modern. They do, however, look interesting for Human typal decks in Commander.
Eagle of Deliverance
Eagle of Deliverance is way too expensive for the Modern format. Six mana needs to be making a massive impact on the Modern format and, since this card cares about making other creatures Indestructible, you’re probably just better off going with something smaller that compliments the creature. Even in the case where you’re trying some kind of combo gimmick, like using this to make an Indestructible Flumph, there are much cheaper alternatives out there.
Commander, however, is a very different ballpark. Eagle of Deliverance is a great way to make your Commander particularly difficult to remove. As a bonus, should your Commander be smaller, Eagle of Deliverance can replace itself.
Personally, casual Commander is the only place I see this card seeing play. Eagle of Deliverance does have an effect that is valuable to Commander decks, but six mana is just too expensive for it to compete with better options. That said, do expect this card to show up in Bird typal decks.
The other casual Commander deck where Eagle of Deliverance can make a splash is decks that care about enter the battlefield effects. Panharmonicon-esque strategies like Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines can make this six mana bird do a lot more to earn its keep. Why give one Indestructible counter when you can give two?
Warg Rider is going to see Commander play thanks to the card’s final ability. Anything that can Amass Orcs is something that Sauron, the Dark Lord, one of the most powerful casual Commanders right now, is going to want. This is no exception.
While Warg Rider can otherwise grant Goblins and Orcs Menace (very good for attacking with Orc Armies), it is once again just too expensive for the Modern format. Paying five mana into a creature that gets Lightning Bolted before it can even generate an Orc Army seems like a terrible deal.
Sauron wants it, casual Goblin decks want it, but that’s about it for this Warg Rider.
Mirkwood Channeler is the cheapest of the new Jumpstart volume two cards. For four mana, Mirkwood Channeler grants a lucky Elf you control a buff equal to the number of Forests you control.
This is, obviously, a rather narrow ability. Mono Green Elf decks are going to be the ones that care about this, and good Elf decks generally don’t utilize a ton of lands. Elves make mana and can attack. Isn’t that better?
Mirkwood Channeler isn’t really a Modern viable card either. Four mana is, once again, a lot for a card that dies to Lightning Bolt. Even outside of that, though, typal based strategies in Modern are not performing well right now thanks to Fury.
Between getting scammed in Rakdos Scam decks and popping up as a free spell in a multitude of different meta decks, taking a massive hit to your board for no mana is really difficult to overcome. Merfolks are a bit of an exception in the Modern format, but other than that, typal decks are nowhere to be seen. Elves are no exception.
Mirkwood Channeler isn’t good enough in Modern. Elves do see play in Legacy, but the Channeler is likely not good enough to see play there, either. In fact, this card’s effect is so narrow that even some Elf typal decks in Commander may not want it.
New Cards Nontheless
I don’t expect any of these MTG cards to make a Modern impact but, if I had to choose one to do something in the format, it would be Riders of the Mark. The card has a ton of tempo potential and can get to a mana value where the payoff is worth the card. A lot of work needs to be done to get there, but it could be useable. Regardless, none of these cards seem particularly strong in Modern.
Commander, on the other hand, welcomes almost all of these cards. I’m not very interested in Mirkwood Channeler, but the rest feel like they will find a home somewhere.